After Wednesday’s joint practice with the Miami Dolphins, Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan took questions from the assembled media. In the midst of answering queries from the usual suspects, Ryan fielded “a question from Mike Davis,” who jumped into the fray and asked:
“I just wanted to know—how are you working on your speed?”
Ryan could barely keep from laughing as he considered a response, saying:
“Every day … every day I watch our running backs and I watch how they condition and run and their technique and those things. I watch Mike Davis and what he does, and I try and do the opposite,” he explained, evoking laughter from his backfield mate.
“I don’t take anything from it. I do the opposite of that and just do my own thing,” Ryan concluded, before thanking Davis for the question.
Watch the full exchange immediately below:
The Running Game Will be a Focus on Saturday Evening
Never mind that Atlanta’s running game is no laughing matter. It’s a particular source of concern this week for head coach Arthur Smith, as he and his coaching staff didn’t get much of a look at the team’s running backs during the preseason opener against the Tennessee Titans, a disappointing 23-3 loss.
In fact, rookie quarterback Feleipe Franks was the team’s leading rusher with four carries for 76 yards, his yards per carry average bolstered by a 52-yard gallop. Meanwhile, Caleb Huntley had just six carries for 18 yards, D’Onta Foreman added three carries for ten yards, and Javian Hawkins had five rushes for a mere two yards.
Smith blamed the limited number of carries on the fact that the team was consistently in second-and-long situations.
“We have to do a better job staying on track so we can get an evaluation of them running,” said Smith after-the-fact, as noted by Tori McElhaney of The Athletic.
That makes this Saturday evening’s preseason game against the Dolphins particularly important, as Smith will likely want to see Mike Davis get a few carries, as he is expected to be the team’s No. 1 running back. Smith would also like to see fellow free agent acquisition Cordarrelle Patterson carry the ball in at least one preseason game, in addition to seeing more from the likes of Huntley, Foreman and Hawkins, not to mention Qadree Ollison.
The Falcons signed Davis to a two-year contract in March. The former fourth-round pick of the San Francisco 49ers (2015) most recently played for Carolina, starting 12 games for the Panthers last year en route to 642 yards and six touchdowns.
The Falcons went on to add Patterson in mid-April, signing the veteran wide receiver/kick returner/running back to a one-year deal worth a reported $3 million.
Saturday’s Kick Off is at 7 p.m. Eastern
The Falcons (0-1) will take on the Dolphins (0-1) at Hard Rock Stadium at 7 p.m. ET on Saturday. Miami lost its preseason opener to the Chicago Bears, a 20-13 defeat at Soldier Field. The Dolphins will be without the services of linebacker Sam Eguavoen, who was placed on the team’s Reserve/COVID-19 list on Wednesday.
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